State auditor: Ala. should speed up executions
The auditor said the decades Walter Moody sat on death row was an example of justice delayed equaling justice denied
By Leada Gore
Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler said the decades Walter LeRoy Moody sat on Alabama's death row was another example of justice delayed equaling justice denied.
Moody was executed Thursday night for the 1989 pipe bombing death of Federal Judge Robert Vance in Birmingham. Moody, 83, became the oldest inmate executed in the United States since the return of executions in the 1970s.
Moody's tenure of close to three decades behind bars and 20-plus years on death row defeats the deterrent element of capital punishment, Zeigler said.
"Thirty years is too long to carry out a sentence. Killers are not worried about what may happen 30 years from now. They think in terms of the next 30 minutes," Zeigler said. "It is very little deterrent to a would-be killer that he might be executed 30 years later."
In 1991, a federal jury convicted Moody of 71 charges related to the death of Vance and Georgia civil rights attorney Robert Robinson, who was also killed by a pipe bomb blast. He was sentenced to seven concurrent life sentences and 400 years. He was placed on death row in 1996 after being convicted of capital murder in state court.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the average time on death row it 190 months, or almost 16 years.
Zeigler said Moody's long period on death row also meant taxpayers had to foot the bill for his room, board and medical expenses.
"We have got to correct this problem and start carrying out swifter justice," he said.
Zeigler said he is working on a plan - dubbed "Execution Delayed is Justice Denied" - that will "greatly speed up executions without increasing the danger of executing the wrong person."
A timeline for the plan to be released was not announced.
©2018 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham